Loving Love (& being broken)
I set out to write this blog post to tell a tale of how beautiful love is, how my favorite thing about myself is my ability to love and give love to everyone. That was the plan, I had it written down and everything. But that’s not the blog post, you’ll still read that don’t worry. I’ll talk about how beautiful it is to love and how I found the ability to love so freely but I have to say something first, you need to know something about me before I can tell you that story. I am broken. I don’t think I’ve ever said that. The whole point of this blog, of my Instagram, of everything I create, is to be vulnerable so other people who feel the same as I don’t feel so alone - because I feel alone.
I’m broken, and I don’t know how to not be broken. Not right now. The way I love, it’s a result of me being broken. That’s what I figured out while writing this blog post, that’s why this blog post is late. Because the moment that I figured out that the thing that I loved about myself - the way I love others - is a result of me being broken, that it’s just a tool I use to try and fix this broken thing inside me, well it broke me all over again. I spent 2 days feeling lost, 4 hours crying over it, and 8 hours dissociated and angry at everything.
I’d like to write, “It’s okay that I’m broken, don’t worry!” But I don’t actually know if that’s true. I’ve always felt like my blog posts need to end with some kind of lesson that I’ve learned and how that lesson has made me a better person and at the end of the day, the lesson was a blessing. That’s not how life works. Not every lesson is pretty, not every lesson has a beautiful message at the end, not immediately. So I don’t want to sit on this blog post while I navigate my way through this lesson. Maybe I’ll bring you along for the ride through it, maybe it will all be internal. I don’t know, I don’t have all the answers. But I wanted you to know that going into the blog post. I am broken. The way I love is a result of me being broken.
I considered not publishing this blog post, it’s depressing, I feel like my thoughts are always depressing but most of all this post made me feel vulnerable in a way that I’ve never felt before. It’s been one thing to go on and on about mental health and depression but opening up about love - about my feelings of inadequacies of opening and showing wounds that I’ve kept buried since childhood it's a whole other level of vulnerability for me. So if you read this, read it knowing that I’m speaking to the people who may feel like me.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in love, when I didn’t have a crush on someone, when I wasn’t hoping and dreaming that someone loved me… man I’m sure a therapist would have a field day with that sentence.
And yet, I actually didn’t know if I believed in love at one point in my life, I knew love was a thing and I craved that thing but I didn't actually know if I was capable of loving and being loved. I was an angry teenager who had never had a boyfriend and felt alone in the world. But then my cousin had a baby and for the first time in my life, I felt what it was like to love. He was my bright light in a time when everything felt dark, he made me happy in a way I had never really felt before, and he loved me. He showed me I could love and more importantly be loved.
The thing is… once I figured out that I could love I couldn’t stop loving. I fell in love with the guy who took my virginity even though he wouldn’t commit to me, even though he told me we could never be together because of our age difference. I loved the next guy that gave me attention - the single father 10 years older than me who cheated on me. I was ready and willing to become a stepmom at 19 for him. I started to love this really sweet man who was great but wasn’t everything I wanted, a man who was a good friend but an okay “boyfriend”.
I loved and loved trying to find someone who would love me back, but this blog post isn’t about them, about those men. This post is about me.
My desire to give love to people extended beyond romantic, I started to give love to my friends and to strangers. I gave my love out to everyone because I knew what it felt like to not feel any love and I didn’t want anyone else to feel that way. I still to do this, if we've ever met I hope that you have felt love from me. I also did this thought because I wanted people to love me back, I'm not that altruistic that I just gave my love away for the sake of giving it away - I wanted them to love me back. Maybe that's my problem.
I started to see my ability to give love as my greatest strength, equating it to my empathy. I love love, I love rom coms and romance books and any type of visible love. I love meet-cutes and inside jokes and love languages. And all of this is great, giving love to others makes me feel good, but there are also times where it makes me feel horrible, mainly at times where I give my love to someone who either doesn’t deserve it or shows me that I shouldn’t be giving them that love.
It’s this strange trauma response I have, I give my love to people because I didn’t feel love when I was younger, and then when I give my love out and it’s not reciprocated I feel sad and alone triggering the trauma that started this cycle. I also have a tendency to hover and give my love to people who seem to not want it, feeling as if I have to earn love for it to mean anything. I will fixate on people who are “hard to get”, I’m sure that a therapist would say that it’s because I don’t fully believe that I’m deserving of love, that I don't believe I can just be loved for being myself. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not. It’s probably true.
My sister and I took different approaches to love. She was cautious and focused on her love, being very picky about who she did and didn’t give her love to. I’m sure she’d say it was also a trauma response and that her way of giving love caused her own issues and her own feelings of loneliness, as mine did. Or maybe I'm projecting, I didn't ask. I was always really jealous of my sister. She was shyer than I was, choosing to stick with reading and her computer. I, on the other hand, wanted to do every sport and every club and be a part of every group. And yet, she had more friends than me. Not that she didn't deserve them, but I didn't understand why she did and didn't.
My sister found a small group of friends and stuck to them, many are still in her life now. They were loyal to her and nice to me by extension. On my 14th birthday, none of my friends showed up. My sister texted her friend Billy and he came to my birthday, he even brought me a present. Those were the kind of friends my sister made, people who would show up at the last minute to her little sister's birthday.
I have one friend from high school, she’s the best - my literal soul mate. I love her to death, and yet I still sometimes question why she’s stuck with me after all this time. No one else has. I see Instagram photos of people with large groups of friends, people who get invited to weddings from people they haven't talked to in years because they impacted their life so much, and I never experience that.
I was in a lot of groups in high school, joining lots of clubs and lots of sports, I had friends in lots of different pockets of life. I still do. I know a lot of people, and yet when I’m lonely on a Friday night I feel like I don’t have many people to call. That’s because I don’t love the same way my sister does. I want everyone to love me so I give my love to everyone. I spread myself too thin and honestly maybe I don’t let anyone actually get too close to me as a result.
Love is such a weird thing. It’s equated, a lot of time, to romance. To sex. But for me love is just connection, it’s connecting with someone else. Opening myself up to the possibility of rejection from someone else. My favorite rom coms and favorite romance books aren’t the ones where it’s just the love interests the whole time, it’s the ones where the friends grow closer or the siblings grow closer. It’s when you see that you get love from more than just a significant other. It’s that visual representation that people can see you, the real you, and stick around after.
I don’t really know how to move forward from all these revelations. I’ve said it before, I’m a very extreme person. I’m either giving love to everyone or to no one. Perhaps the answer is learning to set boundaries so I don’t feel the highs and lows that come with opening myself up, or maybe this is just what my life will be like if I decide that I want to continue loving, which I can’t imagine not experiencing.
I'm still that little girl, the one sitting on her couch waiting for people to show up at her birthday party. No matter how much I've gone through, that little girl is still inside me waiting for someone to show up for her and crushed every time it doesn't happen.
So if you’re like me, a broken person who feels like she isn’t able to be loved, but still loves deeply anyway. You’re not alone, it’s hard and can be lonely. But I love my life… most of the time… and I’m sure one day I’ll find someone that I can show all of myself to and that they’ll love everything that I am. Until then, I’m going to keep working on loving all of myself.
Until next time.
A Whelmed Christy